General Motors has announced Chevrolet’s withdrawal from Europe. The company had made sponsorship deals with two of England’s biggest clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United, to promote the makes in Europe. With Liverpool, the company has switched to its Vauxhall line but with United, the Chevrolet deal would continue.
The official statement General Motors read:
“Beginning in 2016, GM will compete in Europe’s volume markets under its respected Opel and Vauxhall brands.
“The company’s Chevrolet brand will no longer have a mainstream presence in Western and Eastern Europe, largely due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation.”
The Chevrolet brand was introduced in the UK in 2005, as a replacement for South Korean brand Daewoo, which was bought by GM in 2001 and re-named GM Korea in 2011.
While Chevrolet said it will continue its sponsorship of Manchester United it will exit the Liverpool deal early, replacing it with GM’s Vauxhall line.
Chevrolet had signed to be the Liverpool’s automotive partner till 2015/16, with players given their pick of Chevys to drive. But now cars, like Liverpool’s Joe Allen’s Camaro muscle car will replaced by models from Vauxhall.
“Withdrawing from Europe means we were unable to supply them with vehicles, so rather than have no cars, it made sense to switch to Vauxhall instead,” a Chevrolet spokesman said.
Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO also made a statement about giving more emphasis to other brands in Europe
“Europe is a key region for GM that will benefit from a stronger Opel and Vauxhall and further emphasis on Cadillac,”
But the principal GM investment is in Manchester United, which is costing nearly $560 million over seven years, which was extended to a shirt sponsorship that Chevrolet says will still go ahead from the beginning of next season.
The GM executives have dismissed the opinion calling this deal less valuable, claiming that the true yield will be in Asia (mainly China) and other emerging markets.
Manchester United’s data on its fan base supports the automobile company’s reasoning because the club says almost half of its 659 million followers globally are in Asia, including 108 million in China.
Manchester United officials have also made it clear that they are not bothered by GM’s decision to pull Chevrolet out of Europe. Club spokesman Phil Townsend said:
“Chevrolet are very clear that the partnership with us is a global one and we both intend to continue this partnership to help build their brand around the world”.
However, General Motors Co’s decision to pull out the brand out of Europe suddenly makes the over-the-top expensive sponsorship deal with the 20 times League winners, Manchester United, raise questions. The contract looks more like an overpay because players will be wearing a logo for a product that would be nonexistent in the region.